If you were to look outside your window right now you probably wouldn't be seeing any snow, at least not yet. But at Sugarbush resort skiers say it feels like winter. Sugarbush is one of four resorts to open its doors this week for the ski season. "Our season pass sales are up over last year which is really impressive given last year. We have over 1,000 people out here so far today" Sugarbush President and Owner Win Smith said.
Tourism officials say they're hoping pre-season excitement will give the state the revenue boost it badly needs. October revenues were down two and a half million dollars less than forecasted. While summer attracts more visitors winter is the state's money maker. Deputy tourism Commissioner Steve Cook says, "We see about 3.8 million visitors who come to Vermont in the winter about 5 million come during the summer season but the winter visitor spends a little more money per person."
Sugarbush owners say being open this early top to bottom is rare, they say its all thanks to the snow-guns they bought last year. "Last year we invested in some low energy technology so we can put out more water with the same amount of energy" Smith said.
One message resonated will all skiers and riders their first day on the slopes, "anything is better than last year" Matt Stillman told us after his run down the mountain. Stillman like many is hoping an early start bodes well for the rest of the season.